Goodness and advice


How should we live? What do we owe to other people? In Goodness and Advice, the eminent philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson explores how we should go about answering such fundamental questions. In doing so, she makes major advances in moral philosophy, pointing to some deep problems for influential moral theories and describing the structure of a new and much more promising theory. Thomson begins by lamenting the prevalence of the idea that there is an unbridgeable gap between fact and value--that to say something is good, for example, is not to state a fact, but to do something more like expressing an attitude or feeling. She sets out to challenge this view, first by assessing the apparently powerful claims of Consequentialism. Thomson makes the striking argument that this familiar theory must ultimately fail because its basic requirement--that people should act to bring about the "most good"--is meaningless. It rests on an incoherent conception of goodness, and supplies, not mistaken advice, but no advice at all. © 2001 by Princeton University Press. All rights reserved.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Thomson, JJ; Fisher, P; Nussbaum, MC; Schneewind, JB; Smith, BH

Published Date

  • February 9, 2009

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 0691086737

Citation Source

  • Scopus